Internet Security Systems, Inc. (ISS) (NASDAQ: ISSX) revealed today that the number of dating sites across the world has increased by 17 per cent within the last twelve months. The company believes that this rise is partly attributed to the increase in malevolent websites used by developers of malicious code as an opportune moment for phishing, spam and hacker attacks on unsuspecting victims.
The top five countries with the highest increase in dating websites over the past year are USA with 42.9%; Germany with 20.2%; China with 8.9%; the Netherlands with 7.9% and Russia close by with 7%. Interestingly, the UK reaches the top eight with an increase of only 1.8%.
“Organised criminal units have in the past timed their attacks to coincide with popular celebration occasions in order to achieve maximum success in compromising the integrity of computer systems,” said Gunter Ollman, Director of X-Force at Internet Security Systems. “It is anticipated that Valentine’s Day is a day that is similarly marked on the criminals’ calendar for targeted attacks.”
Mystery Valentine’s card
In the weeks running up to Valentine’s Day, many phishing e-mails will do the rounds that promote love or dating opportunities. Organised criminals use this method to lure users to visit specifically designed and prepared websites, which are used to infect the victim’s PC with worms, viruses and Trojans. This allows the criminal gang to gain control of systems or access confidential information such as usernames, passwords, or bank account information and credit card numbers.
“Attacks from hackers will take many forms but, based upon previous observations by ISS, will most insidiously utilise email to deliver spam with a Valentine’s Day message containing embedded malicious URLs. These messages will be designed to drive their intended victims to websites that will attempt to install spyware and other malware on the victim’s computer,” added Gunter. “These criminal organisations tend to use advanced spyware propagation techniques that utilise exploit code to bypass local security settings and install the payload on the user’s computer.”
In order to protect against these kinds of attack, ISS recommends that computer user follow the following guidelines:
All the latest security patches and updates are applied to all software on the computer. While Microsoft update can be used to patch the operating system, users should also make sure that other packages such as Microsoft Office and ActiveX components within popular web browsers (e.g. Shockwave Flash, QuickTime, etc.) are similarly updated.
Don´t attempt to open any attachments that come via email, instant messenger, or other file sharing network unless you can positively verify the source. Many worms and viruses propagate by compromising one computer and sending emails to everyone listed in the address book on the computer. Therefore friends and colleagues will receive an email supposedly from someone they trust – only to be fooled into opening a dangerous attachment.
Make sure that all desktop protection software is fully up to date and has the latest signatures installed.
ISS offers Proventia Web Filter which blocks unwanted web content, optimises Internet access for employees and prevents any kind of non work related Internet use. This way, businesses are protected, employee productivity is increased and legal liability through use of illegal private “surf trips” at the workplace is reduced.
About Internet Security Systems, Inc.
Internet Security Systems, Inc. (ISS) is the trusted expert to global enterprises and world governments, providing products and services that protect against Internet threats. An established world leader in security since 1994, ISS delivers proven cost efficiencies and reduces regulatory and business risk across the enterprise. ISS products and services are based on the proactive security intelligence conducted by ISS’ X-Force® research and development team – the unequivocal world authority in vulnerability and threat research. Headquartered in Atlanta, Internet Security Systems has additional operations throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit the Internet Security Systems website at www.iss.net/uk or call ჸ(0)1753 845 100.